Every time a car registered in your name enters the roadway, you could be placing yourself in a position of legal liability in the event of a traffic accident. Whether the driver is you, a spouse, a child, or a friend, any accident involving a car registered in your name can expose you to lawsuits that can destroy your financial stability. Even with insurance in place and a car accident attorney on your legal team, you may not fully be protected from the threat of liability. In a legal worst-case scenario, you could potentially be sued, and your assets could be jeopardized by the actions of others. That can put you in a precarious situation, to say the least.
Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to mitigate the risk of asset loss if someone operating a car in your name is involved in an accident. The good news is that these risk mitigation steps can be handled without much fanfare and have little cost attached to them. If you’re involved in a traffic accident and you’re at fault, you can be sure that the victim will hire a car accident personal injury lawyer in Bradenton, FL, and a lawsuit will likely be filed against you. But by taking these steps below, you can mitigate your risk and protect your assets. Keep reading to learn how you can protect your assets in the event of a car accident.
Retitle Vehicles Used by Others
One of the most inexpensive and simplest measures you can undertake to protect your assets in a traffic accident is to make sure that your vehicles titles are in order. For example, if your child drives a car and is of legal majority, you should title the car in the primary driver’s name. This advice also extends to spouses. If your spouse has an accident in a vehicle titled in your name, the victim’s car accident attorney can set sights on your spouse’s assets, your assets, and assets that you and your spouse hold jointly. However, if the vehicle is titled only in the spouse’s name, only the spouse’s individually held assets are in jeopardy. Assigning the vehicle titles to the appropriate people insulates your assets from wholesale exposure.
Check Your Policies
Another key step you can take to protect your assets is to make sure that the name of anyone who will operate the vehicle is listed on your insurance policy. In some cases, you can leave yourself exposed if you allow a person not listed on your policy to operate a vehicle that you own. It’s just a good practice to only allow those who are listed on your insurance policy to operate your vehicle.
Get Umbrella Coverage
An umbrella liability policy is another excellent tool for insulating yourself and your assets from lawsuits in the wake of a traffic accident. Most states have minimum liability insurance requirements for drivers, but a traffic accident can lead to lawsuits and subsequent damages that dwarf those minimum coverage amounts. Therefore, it’s wise to get an umbrella policy which can provide additional protection by extending your coverage to fill any gaps. For example, if you’re sued for $200,000 but your auto insurance only covers damages up to $100,000, an umbrella policy would fill the gap between those two numbers by paying the additional $100,000, or up to the coverage limit of the umbrella policy. The amount of umbrella coverage you’ll need depends on how many additional drivers are to be covered and their ages and driving histories.
Protection through Titling
The way your assets are titled may also extend some protection in the event of an accident and subsequent lawsuit. For example, a legal convention known as “tenant by the entirety” is a way of ensuring that assets jointly owned by you and your spouse can’t be pursued if either of you is involved in an accident. You can also create a trust and place your assets in its control, thus protecting your assets from seizure.
There are many tactics you can use to protect your assets if you or a loved one is involved in a traffic accident. To learn more about protecting your assets in the wake of a car accident, contact Erjavec Injury Law at (941) 907-1133.